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(mt) Media Temple is not your average website hosting company, and their Grid shared hosting service is miles beyond any shared hosting I’ve ever used. Performance, scalability, and incomparable support is what you’ll find. Here’s why I love it.

We’re giving away ten 1-year Media Temple Grid shared hosting accounts with this review. So learn everything Media Temple’s Grid service has to offer, then join the giveaway to win! Plus, check out our latest free manual on how to start your own online business using Media Temple.

Features At A Glance

What makes Media Temple’s Grid hosting different to shared hosting from other providers?

SSH access and power user tools: Unlike most shared hosting, with a Grid shared hosting account, you have full SSH access – this allows you to run secure FTP connections, and perform command line operations like backing up. You can even use tools like Subversion How To Control WordPress Versions Using Subversion [Linux] How To Control WordPress Versions Using Subversion [Linux] Most of you probably already know that WordPress powers a large amount of websites that we look at every day. With the large userbase and support, you can do a lot of cool things with... Read More .

Scalability: It’s great when your site gets picked up by Reddit, but not if a few thousand visitors causes the server to crash. As a cloud service, (mt) Grid intelligently ramps up the processing and memory available to your site so it can cope with these very situations.

Tight integration with CloudFlare: CloudFlare is a service I raved about years ago Protect & Speed Up Your Website For Free with CloudFlare Protect & Speed Up Your Website For Free with CloudFlare CloudFlare is an intriguing start-up from the creators of Project Honey Pot that claims to protect your website from spammers, bots and other evil web monsters - as well as speed up your site somewhat... Read More which both protects your site from malicious bots and speeds it up with caching before the request even hits your server. Since CloudFlare was purchased by Media Temple last year, activating the service on your domain no longer requires DNS modification – it’s all just a click away from the service dashboard. And it’s completely free. Not only that, but Media Temple’s Grid hosting customers also enjoy the Railgun speed improvements for free (normally only available to Business and Enterprise level customers) – which significantly speeds up dynamic page requests and “time to first byte”.

railgun

Media Temple’s Grid hosting service costs $20 per month. This covers 100 GB of storage, 1 TB ‘short path’ bandwidth, and 2000 GPUs. What is a GPU? I’m glad you asked!

GPU stands for Grid Performance Unit, and is where the scalability aspect I mentioned of the (mt) Grid service comes into play. Your site’s GPU usage covers things like disk operations and processing time, so sites with very heavy demands in terms of plugins or dynamic content will use more GPUs. The basic plan includes 2000 GPUs, which is equivalent to 2.78 GPUs per hour – a figure that was calculated to be sufficient for 97.8% of sites running on (mt) Grid – it is therefore unlikely you’ll ever need to worry about your usage.

However, it’s good to know that so long as your total monthly usage doesn’t exceed 2000 GPUs, your site will always be able to scale up or down as required throughout that month. This allows you to deal with traffic spikes from Reddit (for instance) without fear of crashing the server, and without the need to log in and order an upgrade. At any point, you can check your current GPU usage, and if the system detects you’re likely to go over, you’ll get a warning email.

Setup and Interface

Choosing a domain when you purchase your hosting is the easiest way to go. If you’ve already purchased elsewhere though, adding the domain to your account is trivial – however, you’ll need to adjust the nameserver settings so they point to ns1.mediatemple.net and ns2.mediatemple.net.

mtgs-activate-domain

Every aspect of setup and configuration is performed from the central control panel. Creating an email address involves simply creating a new user – this includes optional SSH and FTP access. Mod_pagespeed can be enabled in one click to speed up your site – I strongly recommend doing this once you’ve got everything else set up as it really does make a difference by automatically minifying resource files. There’s a whole range of options to configure elsewhere, like PHP versions or domain redirects, but the majority of users will be fine with the defaults. One particularly useful item is the Server Guide, a page which collates every important address, username or other details about your hosting.

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One-Click Installer Hiccup

I was slightly disappointed by the 1-Click Applications, mainly because it wasn’t exactly a one-click affair. Of course, if you’re going to run your own website and host it outside of a free blogging platform, you should expect a little bit of a learning curve – a basic understanding of the fact your site needs a database to operate, perhaps. However, my experience has always been that “one-click” installers are supposed to mitigate that. If there is any configuration to be done, the user should be walked through with dialog boxes. Unfortunately, the (mt) Grid 1-Click installer requested that I first create a database. After doing this, the installer then asks about a “database prefix”, which really isn’t something the average one-click installation user is going to understand.

This process definitely needs work to make it more user-friendly for novices – just some extra automation and explanatory dialogs would be enough. Even so, it took less than 15 minutes to have a fully operational WordPress site setup and ready to go.

Support

The support ticket system is very easy to use, and each ticket is given an estimated response time. I posted an open-ended but technical query about how to speed up the “time to first byte”, and the wait time was forecasted to be 14 hours. In actual fact, a Media Temple representative responded within 1.5 hours. For immediate responses, there’s a 24-hour chat service available, but this wasn’t an emergency. Their answer was comprehensive, explaining steps I could take to speed up the site, pointing me in the direction of some resources, and to a blog post from CloudFlare about why the TTFB metric is actually not that useful.

mtgs-support

Realistically, it’s difficult to judge support with a planned test like this – but as a Media Temple customer for a few years now outside of this review, I can confidently say their support has been timely and fantastically helpful on more than one occasion. Once, completely nuked a client’s database for a new e-commerce site we’d been working on – all of it, gone. Since the site was still in development, I hadn’t taken backups. My heart sank when I realised how stupid I had been. Fortunately, Media Temple saved the day with an emergency recovery. I was certainly thankful for their help that day. On every occasion, support has been comprehensive and surpassed my every expectation.

Performance

With CloudFlare and mod_pagespeed optimizations enabled, Pingdom measured a total page load time of 1.44 seconds for my WordPress site with WooCommerce installed – that’s pretty incredible, though obviously this could be expected to rise once the page complexity increases. Still – I’m so impressed, I’m considering switching some of my (mt) DV hosted sites to Grid too!

mtgs-performance

If I’m completely honest, the phrase “shared hosting” has always left a nasty taste in my mouth, making me somewhat hesitant to take on this review. Having begun my web development career with on overpriced but entry-level SiteGround shared account where every additional domain costs nearly as much as a new hosting account, I then tried an unlimited plan from GoDaddy. Slow is an understatement – a trickle of bandwidth, however unlimited, is absolutely worthless. Anything but the simplest of WordPress plugins resulted in high resource usage warnings. On the contrary, Media Temple’s Virtual Private Server (different types of hosting explained The Various Forms Of Website Hosting Explained [Technology Explained] The Various Forms Of Website Hosting Explained [Technology Explained] Read More ) has been the the best web service I’ve ever spent money on. With top quality support, low-level access to the server and as many sites as I want, I’ve been a very happy bunny – I’m not surprised their Grid service is great too.

Media Temple’s Grid is a superb solution for any small to medium sized website – and particular good for WordPress. With server optimizations enabled easily, your site will be astonishingly fast. You’ll soon forget that it is actually “shared hosting”. Support is astounding, and though the management interface could certainly be made a little more beginner-friendly, it’ll still only take less than 15 minutes to get your new site online.

Hands down best shared web hosting, ever.

How do I win an (mt) Media Temple Grid Hosting account?

You may enter by submitting your name and email address. You’ll receive one entry simply by doing so.

After that, you’ll also be offered various methods to earn additional entries. They range from sharing a link to this giveaway on social networks; to commenting or visiting a specific page. The more you participate, the higher your chances of winning! You will receive 5 additional entries into the giveaway for every successful referral via your shared links.

This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, November 29. The winners will be selected at random and informed via email.

The Winners

  • Rama Moorthy
  • David Moreira
  • Andrew Mohr
  • Jeff Manes
  • Aaron Raimist
  • Scott Boyer
  • Ryan Coley
  • Jamie Hessner
  • Ismail Khan
  • Steven Yang

Congratulations! If you were selected as a winner, you would have received your license via email from jackson@makeuseof.com. If you require any assistance, please get in touch with Jackson Chung before December 8. Enquires beyond this date will not be entertained.

Submit your apps and software to be reviewed. Contact Jackson Chung for further details.

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